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Justin Blake's official Vindolanda excavation Twitter feed

Unless otherwise noted, all plans below are unofficial interpretations only.
They are meant to help orient diggers & friends.
They are not designed to scale, nor to imply archaeological accuracy.

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Session 2; 15 - 26 April
Topic Started: Apr 14 2013, 06:29 AM (2,331 Views)
snowglobe
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Now up and running for posts, thoughts and Photos. Lets hope the weather gods behave!
Edited by snowglobe, Apr 14 2013, 05:28 PM.
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SacoHarry
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sarcanon
Apr 16 2013, 02:29 PM
My guess will be to expand RET as RETULIT
Ahh, that does make sense! Especially given the "VOT" instead of "V." I saw a notch between the R and ET, but that could easily just be a bang in the altar instead of an intentional "space." Nice!
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Fiona D
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Seem to have eaten, breathed in, and got eyefuls of Vindolanda dust today - soooo windy it was unpleasant even though wonderfully sunny. Every 5 minutes someone was chasing after kneeling mats, dustpans, wheelbarrows!!! or pages from notebooks (Kate).

I won't enlarge on excitement of altar as Justins fab photo has more than done it justice, but can add a few shots of areas developing.

Unfortunately forecast is for heavy rain tomorrow --- but you never know, and with winds at gale force nothing is sticking around for long.
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sarcanon
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Quote:
 
I won't enlarge on excitement of altar as Justins fab photo has more than done it justice, but can add a few shots of areas developing.


Ah, Fiona, but as nice as Justin's photo is, it's less than ideal for reading the text, at least for the epigraphers among us. If you have (and can post) a clear photo of the text, that would be much appreciated. But even if you can't, thanks for the other photos!

- Scott
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Fiona D
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Sorry Scott - I have no better photo of text - Andy said he would elaborate when they had had chance to study in more detail - these things are never cut and dried are they. the lettering did look pretty sharp to me though.
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SacoHarry
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Brilliant photos Fiona, thanks much! That flagged floor must have been a thing of beauty back in the day.
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NicC
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Promised lashings of rain failed to materialise but the wind returned late in the afternoon so the sport of chasing belongings was restarted! Mainly "going down" all over but some more deturfing carried out towards, but not at, the western end of the trench. Nothing spectacular found - arrow heads, a spear head, pot lids, the normal detritus of empire. I guess Fiona may be posting photos which is just as well as I have not taken any.

The rain has turned up late in the day but hopefully it will disappear before start of business tomorrow.
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Fiona D
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Sorry, no photos from me either - just too tired after removing what felt like tons of soil/debris today. I gather from Andy the altar was set up by a guy called Aprilius to sun god - Sol Invictus I assume - very appropriate! Lets hope he carries on interceding for us.

Will take more photos tomorrow assuming weather is kind.













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sarcanon
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Fiona D
Apr 17 2013, 01:45 PM
I gather from Andy the altar was set up by a guy called Aprilius to sun god - Sol Invictus I assume - very appropriate! Lets hope he carries on interceding for us.
Very interesting. I could find only one other instance of the nomen Aprilius in RIB volume I. Two bronze statuettes of Mars were found at Cockersand Moss (Lancs) in 1718, and have since been lost. One of them was inscribed:

Quote:
 
D(eo) M(arti) N(odonti) | Lucianus | colleg(ae) Aprili Viato|ris v(otum) s(olvit)

"To the god Mars Nodons, Lucianus fulfilled the vow of his colleague, Aprilius Viator"

Whether this Aprilius is the same guy who dedicated the Vindolanda altar is hard to say. Context doesn't help much. The Cockersand site is in the middle of nowhere, nearly 5 km from the nearest Roman road (70d, Preston-Lancaster), and even from further from any known military site. The Vindolanda Aprilis was almost certainly military-affliliated given where the altar was found and the fact that the dedication is Mithraic. The Cockersand dedication was to Mars Nodons, a syncretic god conflating the well known Roman war god with the Celtic god Nodons. So, a military connection there seems not too implausible. And, Aprilius appears to be a relatively uncommon nomen, so who knows?

I'm very eager to hear what Andrew and Justin have to say.
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Fiona D
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Really interesting Scott - the Aprilius Viator find would be over on the Fylde somewhere where my family originate from. Andy also said he'd seen the same altar pattern before - the idea being they bought a job lot then the person who was setting it up carved their own inscription - hence the inconsistent carving!
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Fiona D
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Not much to add today - very windy again 60mph - and ended the day slightly early to escape heavy showers. Better, calmer day tomorrow will do a photo round up at end of day.

Re lettering on altar - Aprilis not Aprilius evidently, and Apollo not Sol - Bring three and fourpence we're going to a dance - never trust the messenger!
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NicC
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Amongst today's extra-mural activities pot-washing was performed in shifts. The usual chucking of stones and finding of small finds was achieved. Amongst the latter was a gaming counter and a bit of beaded glass. For those that did the late shift they missed digging in horizontal rain. Shelter was taken outside the East Gate and a brief return was made but the trenches were becoming muddy and slippery.

Amongst finds were another arrow-head and also a perfume jar (piece of) which yours truly got chastised for because he did not recognise it as being a small find - apparently it is rare.

Photos were taken at close of play 'cos Fiona had forgotten her camera. They run from West to East with plenty of overlap (I hope). They have been reduced to 20% of actual to make them visible sans scrolling. Full size they are about 2.5-4+m so I hope no one wants a full blown copy mailed!

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SacoHarry
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Great series of photos, thanks much Nic! Sounds like day after day of truly interesting & cool stuff. The walls & stonework are fab! Wish I was there right now, horizontal rain and all.
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Claire_M
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Thanks for the link to the large size pic of the altar - computer was mucking about and took me a while to see it. All fascinating.
Edited by Claire_M, Apr 19 2013, 02:21 AM.
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SacoHarry
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Excellent end-of-Week-3 update by Justin Blake now available at Vindolanda's official blog: http://vindolanda.blogspot.com/2013/04/week-3-things-have-progressed-nicely.html
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Fiona D
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As Justin has said it all on blog, I'll just put a couple of photos from Barcombe Hill showing sunshine at last, and calm. Lovely days digging after all this weeks wind.

There were a couple of big flags showing up under the trench dug across the rampart right at the end of the day - maybe the inter-vallum road?

Lots to look forward to next week.
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